Ask the Scholar: Terryl and Fiona Givens

07.08.2013 | The Maxwell Institute

Following the release of their new book The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life, Terryl and Fiona Givens embarked on a series of fireside gatherings discussing the navigation of faith crises. Last Saturday the pair, along with Richard Bushman, spoke to a small group in Provo, Utah, on the subject. To get a sense of their presentation, see the notes scribbled at They spoke about principles restored by Joseph Smith, and efforts by the Church today to provide a better climate for handling questions about our history.

Terryl has been in town the past few weeks leading the Mormon Scholars Foundation Summer Seminar, cosponsored by the Maxwell Institute and the Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley Institution. Since 1997, Richard Bushman and Terryl have alternately directed summer seminars on Mormon thought and history with a variety of graduate students. This year’s theme is “Workings of the Spirit and Works of the Priesthood: Gifts and Ordinances in LDS Thought and Practice.”

Later this week I’ll have the privilege of interviewing the Givenses on the Maxwell Institute Podcast. If you have a question you’d like them to discuss, visit our Facebook page and post it on our wall. You can also submit questions via email to blairhodges [@] I’ll select a few of the best questions, which can focus on the their latest book, their views on undergoing a faith crisis, or even Terryl’s previous work on Mormonism. His works include The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy; By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion; People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture; When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought; The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction; and Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism. He’s also currently working on a two-volume work on Mormon theology for Oxford University Press. His “Letter to a Doubter” is available here.

Again, if you have a question you’d like them to discuss, visit our Facebook page and post it on our wall. You can also submit questions via email to blairhodges [@] or tweet a question @MI_BYU. Questions must be submitted before tomorrow at 8 am mdt.